Shortly before Bihar goes to polls, the ‘mahagatbandhan’ stands scattered with Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, two sworn enemies, left to take on the National Democratic Alliance and other secular parties.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is slippery as an eel, has walked out of the alliance and is taking potshots on his former partners having tied up with NCP. Ridiculing Nitish Kumar and his secular credentials, Mulayam said the Bihar chief minister needs to speak about the 12 years he ran a state government along with the BJP.
Much before Mulayam dumped Lalu-Nitish, the NCP had parted ways and the duo in turn have decided go it together, while left parties — CPI, CPM and CPI(ML) — are singing another tune.
But Mulayam, NCP and the three Left parties can inflict serious damage on the ‘mahagatbandhan’ in a tight fight by gnawing at its vote share. A few thousand votes is enough to make a huge difference, said a senior Bihar Left leader.
Many Bihar watchers say the Lalu-Nitish alliance has started showing signs thawing at the grassroots. The alliance is also banking on problems of seat-sharing in the NDA and other issues, to win the polls.
But at this point, the secular alliance looks frayed and has to work hard to convince people of the state, especially upper caste voters, that coming together of two OBCs will not take the state back to jungle raj. It will be tough for Lalu and Nitish to convince voters that they mean business, the Left leader said.
According to him, the unsaid story about the Bihar polls is the unease in the Left parties of going together without Lalu and Nitish. A large section within the state CPI and CPM are in favour of helping out Lalu and Nitish.
But after the 2014 debacle, Left parties have decided to work on strengthening themselves and shun any secular alliance, and hence it decided not to have truck with Lalu and Nitish.
The “grand alliance” (JD(U)-RJD-Congress) is projected to garner from 116 to 132 seats in the 243-member Bihar assembly, as per an opinion poll by India TV channel.
The BJP-led combine is likely to win between 94 to 110 seats, as per a poll conducted by CVoter. The projections were based on a method that used a random sample of 110,683 interviews covering all assembly constituencies during August last week and early September.
The margin of error is plus or minus 3% at the state level and plus or minus 5% at the regional level, said the poll agency.